OBAMA ANNOUNCES NEW PUSH FOR COMPUTER EDUCATION
(P1) U.S. President Barack Obama has announced his new Computer Science for All INITIATIVE. The $4 billion plan aims to fulfill Obama’s commitment to “offer every student the HANDS-ON computer science and math classes they need.”
(P2) The CS for All initiative is intended to provide every student between kindergarten and 12th grade with computer science education. The $4 billion would be distributed to states over three years, with $100 million going directly to school districts, to train teachers and purchase high-quality instructional materials.
(P3) “In the new economy, computer science isn’t an OPTIONAL skill, it’s a basic skill,” Obama said.
(P4) While more than 90% of parents say they want their children to have computer science courses, only about 25% of schools in the United States offer quality coding and programming classes. In 22 states, computer science classes are not allowed to COUNT TOWARDS high school graduation. At the same time, a growing number of jobs require computer science skills, and there is a shortage of people who are qualified for the jobs. Last year, more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs in the U.S. went unfilled. Experts predict that in the next two years, more than half of all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs will involve computer science.
(P5) The initiative is also designed to promote diversity in the tech industry. In 2015, only 22% of students who took the Advanced Placement Computer Science test were female. Only 13% of students who took the test were either African American or Latino. These percentages were similar in large technology companies. MANDATORY computer science classes should encourage more students from all different BACKGROUNDS to confidently pursue technology careers.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Is technology education in your country good, or could it be improved?
- Do you feel that your own computer skills are good?
- Is it important for everyone to be able to code and program, or only for a few people?
- Not everyone would agree that studying computer science helps people find jobs; some computer science graduates have a difficult time finding work. Is it easy to find technology jobs in your country, or difficult?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Count towards